Jeff Humphrey

Solar Power Compacts Downtown Trash

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Monday, February 5, 2018 at 3:59 p.m.

The Spokane City Council wants to make it easier to keep downtown cleaner and improve our ability to recycle litter.

On Monday the council approved the installation of forty new garbage containers; they all have a solar-powered compactor and half have a recycling bin as well.

Up until now, workers from the Downtown Spokane Partnership’s Clean Team had to empty sidewalk trash cans on a daily basis or run out of room for garbage.

The City was also worried about people rummaging through the unsecure bins and litter ending up on the ground when the cans got too full.

Now a lot of downtown’s trash is going to end up inside something called the “Bigbelly”.

“When you put something in the Bigbelly, it stays in the Bigbelly. You don’t have to worry about wind- blown liter or bugs or pests getting inside. It’s completely contained,” explained Leila Dillion of Bigbelly Solar.

Solar panels collect enough energy to periodically compact the litter. That means a single Bigbelly container can hold five times the amount of our existing trash cans.

“So imagine when you add all of that extra capacity to a particular location and the smart technology telling you how full it is, that’s why that waste can stay so much longer and you can reduce your collection so significantly,” said Dillon

Because downtown trash cans won’t have to be emptied daily anymore, the City’s solid waste workers will now be doing the pickups.

Sensors inside of the Bigbelly keep track of capacity and send out real time readings about when the garbage trucks should stop by to haul away the waste.

Using the Bigbelly to store trash longer means the DSP’s Clean Team will have more time to work on other downtown concerns like removing graffiti, cleaning sidewalks and making railway viaducts safer for everyone to use.

The City is leasing the forty Bigbelly waste collection containers for an annual cost of $71,000 during the next five years.

Installation of the Bigbellys around Riverfront Park and downtown sidewalks should begin later this February.

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